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For their own good
Fifty years ago, they were screwed-up kids sent to the Florida School for Boys to be straightened out. But now they are screwed-up men, scarred by the whippings they endured. Read the story and see a video and portrait gallery.
By KEITH NIEBUHR, Times Staff Writer
Published December 7, 2007
Tonight at Miami's Traz Powell Stadium, Armwood plays Miami Booker T. Washington in a Class 4A semifinal that features two of the state's elite programs. These teams have quite a history. This will be their fourth semifinal showdown - Armwood won the past three. For the Hawks, this rivalry has produced joy. For the Tornadoes, each game has ended in heartbreak. A look back at their meetings:
Round 1: 2003
Setup: High-scoring Armwood, which entered 13-0, crushed Countryside 46-9 the week before. The Tornadoes had two losses but seemed to be getting hot. Before the game, Armwood's team bus got lost. The Hawks arrived 20 minutes before kickoff.
The action:Armwood rolled to an early lead and didn't look back. The offense gained big numbers on the ground, and the defense sacked Booker T.'s quarterback six times and forced five turnovers.
Final: Armwood 44-14
Postgame quote: "This is great for Seffner. It kind of puts us on the map." - Armwood coach Sean Callahan
Excitement scale: 7.5
Epilogue: Armwood beat Lakeland Lake Gibson 29-21 to win the program's first state football title.
Round 2: 2004
Setup: With most of its top offensive players back, Armwood was expected to again crush the Tornadoes. But thanks largely to quarterback Alwan Lee, Booker T. had a much stronger squad.
The action: Behind Lee's 312 passing yards and 175 rushing yards, Booker T. led late before Armwood struck for six with a trick play - an 80-yard double pass with 2:01 left. Instead of going for the tie, Armwood went for two and got it on a run by Kalvin Bailey.
Final: Armwood 36-35
Postgame quote: "I'm still kind of in shock. I'm glad it's over." - Armwood quarterback Jameel Williams
Excitement scale: 9.9
Epilogue: Armwood routed Lakeland Lake Gibson 49-21 to win its second straight 4A title.
Round 3: 2005
Setup: Unbeaten Booker T., wanting to avenge the previous season's stunning loss, faced one-loss Armwood at Traz Powell Stadium in front of 8,000 fans. Because the Hawks had many new faces, it appeared to finally be Booker T.'s year.
The action: The Hawks trailed 34-29 with 2:25 left and the ball at their 20. Ten plays later, they took the lead on a touchdown pass from Justin Hickman to Lance Tillison with eight seconds left.
Final: Armwood 37-34
Postgame quote: "I told our guys if we kept it close in the final seconds, we'd win the game" - Callahan
Excitement scale: 10.0
Epilogue: Hawks lost to Tim Tebow-led Ponte Vedra Beach Nease in the 4A final.